Beyond Technology: 4 Must-Have Soft Skills for Marketing
Soft Skills for Marketing
Modern marketing requires technical knowledge that quickly becomes an all-consuming, never-ending, learning curve. That doesn’t mean it’s not worth pursuing, it means it requires long-term dedication.
Even if you master today’s skills, tomorrow will bring new technologies and the skills required to maintain them will likely be different.
As business owners race from one shiny coin to the next looking for a quick marketing fix, it’s easy to overlook soft skills that are just as critical to your success as a marketer. Here are four skills that go beyond technical tips to help you communicate with customers and prospects.
They demonstrate that you are human and help the audience you market to decide whether you are the right fit for them.
In addition to the soft skills you look for in most roles:
- Common sense
Here are four soft skills that all marketers need to practice and improve upon.
Empathy is being aware of the emotions and feelings of others. This is a required skill for marketers. Empathy is often illustrated in the proverb: To walk in another person’s shoes …
In order to accurately understand your prospects and customers, to feel their pain and anticipate their needs, you need to empathize with their situations. According to Chief Technology Officer and author Chad Fowler, when you practice empathy;
- You will be more likely to treat the people you care about as they wish you would treat them.
- You will better understand the needs of people around you.
- You will more clearly understand the perception you create in others with your words and actions.
- You will better understand the needs of your customers at work.
- You will be able to more accurately predict the actions and reactions of people you interact with.
- You will learn how to motivate the people around you.
- You will more effectively convince others of your point of view.
- You will experience the world in higher resolution as you perceive through not only your perspective but also the perspectives of those around you.
- You will be a better leader, a better follower, and most important, a better friend.
Empathy occurs from awareness and your ability to listen (an often-overlooked skill in today’s workplace). But listening is only effective when true understanding occurs. Effective listening takes place online and off-line. Whether it is personal or business, effective listening skills are crucial to a good relationship. One of the results of good listening is the ability to ask the right questions. The result of asking good questions is seen in your marketing messages. Want to be a better listener? Try turning off your phone for a few hours!
Effective marketing breaks the mold by being different or seeing things differently. Contrary to popular belief, creativity doesn’t always mean inventing something new. Creativity can be the simple act of combining, seeing or using old things in new ways.
To follow the path of everyone else is the mindset of lemmings. It takes creativity to establish and communicate your uniqueness. According to Bryan Mattimore, the Big Idea guy, creativity can be taught as described in his book 21 Days to a Big Idea. Creativity adds value and when it is communicated well, it increases profitability.
Effective marketing is well conceived, planned and thought-out in advance — it’s strategic. Hoping your marketing will generate more high-quality leads by some stroke of luck or chance is not a good approach to marketing or spending money. Today, almost everything in marketing can be measured. The ability to measure what’s working and what’s not allows marketers to make fact-based choices and replace mediocre results with new approaches.
The analytical mind is always testing, comparing and improving results. Analytical skills are required for the synthesis of data and the ability to recognize patterns within it. The ability to break down data into trends and predictable behavior is a key to success in marketing. Critical thinking is a combination of analytical thinking and creativity.
An effective marketer understands the roles of customers, prospects, sales, finance and product development. The ability to play well with others (sales, management, IT, development, etc.) is an important component of marketing. Being an effective team member means understanding the relationship of where marketing fits in and how what you do impacts others.
While a product is being developed, marketing can research competition, speak to potential users, and identify areas of differentiation that can be leveraged when it becomes available. Messaging and collateral are more likely to be effective for a new product when marketing is involved in early stage development.
In this blog we spend a lot of time discussing what’s hot and what works in marketing.
We all want thousands of likes, more website visitors and higher-quality leads. In order to get those results, you have to look beyond technical skills.
The 4 soft skills above are an important part of effective marketing. Are there other soft skills you look for in marketing? Let us know in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments.
Do you excel in these soft skills? Want to speak to experts who do?
At Crest, we help companies:
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists